The Wish That Changed Christmas is an Christmas-themed McDonald's Family Theater presentation, adapted by Romeo Muller. Based on Rumer Godden's 1958 book The Story of Holly and Ivy, it premiered as part of its series on CBS on December 20, 1991. It was produced in New York by (Colossal) Pictures and presented by DPI, a division of the Children's Television Workshop.


Ivy is an orphan living at Miss Shepherd's Home for Orphans. Unlike the other children, she hasn't been taken in for Christmas and will have to spend the holidays alone at the Appleton Infants' Home. She says she could go to her grandmother's house, but she doesn't have one and Miss Shepherd puts her on the train to Appleton. She wishes she had a grandmother and a "Christmas doll".

At a toy shop in Mill Valley, a doll named Holly wishes to be purchased by a girl. Abracadabra, a stuffed owl, laughs at her wish and torments her. Peter, a young shop assistant, is annoyed that Mr. Blossom, the shop's owner, treats him like a kid.

Just as Ivy's train is stopping in Mill Valley, an electrical failure causes the message "Merry Christmas Welcome to Mill Valley" to become "Merry Christmas to Ivy". Taking this as a sign, she disembarks to look for her grandmother.

Meanwhile, Officer Albert Jones and his wife, Edna, are discussing their plans for Christmas. She wants to get a Christmas tree, but he protests that they have no children to share it with. She decides to get one anyway.

Mr. Blossom gives Peter the responsibility of locking up the shop and tells him that he can take one of the leftover toys as a bonus. After he leaves, Peter loses the key through a hole in his pocket. As night falls, Ivy has still not found a grandmother and is now alone out in the cold on Christmas Eve night. She comes across the toy shop, sees Holly in the window, and wishes she could have her. Holly sees Ivy and wishes the same. Ivy finds the key Peter dropped and takes it for "good luck". She finds a warm room nearby to sleep in.

The next morning, she overhears Peter talking to Albert about the lost key. She returns it and Albert decides to take her in for the time being. Peter considers which toy he should take as his bonus. Instead of taking something for himself, he decides to give a doll to Ivy in order to thank her for saving his job. He reaches for Holly, but Abracadabra comes to life and attacks him. Peter manages to overpower him.


When Ivy reaches the Joneses' house, she declares that this must be her grandmother's house because there is a Christmas tree and no children. Peter arrives shortly thereafter to give her a present and it is, of course, Holly. She asks Edna if she could be her grandmother. The special concludes with the narrator explaining that the Joneses went on to adopt her and summarizing how everyone got their Christmas wish.


Voice actor/actressCharacter
Jonathan WintersThe Owl
Paul WinfieldMr. Smith
Brittany ThorntonIvy
Lea FlodenHolly
Marc RobinsonPeter
Tress MacNeilleMrs. Jones
Bill BoyettOfficer Jones
Beverly GarlandMiss Shepherd
Lindsay WorkmanMr. Blossom
Susan Blu
Robbie Rist


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